Appeal of NH and being scared of horses? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 18 Old 12-17-2012, 09:13 PM
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Great post, coming from experience, not theory!

There are those, like your compadre, who will never learn a better way, even when their way isn't working. It'd be ok, if the horse weren't the victim in that equation.
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post #12 of 18 Old 12-18-2012, 05:25 AM
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I would like to agree with most of what has been said. Isn't it great to get to hear from folks who use their horses for work on here ?
This is where NH was invented and developed, from those who needed their horses to be good at a job.

A large part of the history of this development can be found in Dr Robert Millers book "The Revolution in Horsemanship". Might be a good place for AnrewPL to look for some PhD reading.

I also agree that many many folks who start NH come to it after problems with modern training. (As NH has a written history going back to 434BC I prefer to call it traditional horsemanship not the modern, since around 1870, method most think of as traditional). We certainly did when our horse Bonitao would buck into every canter.

Many folks like the fluffy bunny approach to NH, but this is not what it is all about. I think this idea has partially come about as the clinicians, like Pat, are a bit scared of putting the actual methods of NH on DVD for all the negative publicity it produces. One view of a NH being firm with a horse and the antis are shouting "abuse", largely ignoring the dressage horses with blood coming out of their sides in warm up rings all over the country at shows every weekend. I've seen it, but that is just "getting respect".

It was only when I started training with James Roberts (a former Pat P protégée) that I started to understand true NH. We actually termed it "No Nonsense Horsemanship". It was using all the stuff we had learned from DVDs and other instructors but was more effective. I was watching a man, who made his profession out of backing young horses and helping troubled horses, ply his trade. This is much more in the manner that NH was originally developed. Pat claims to have started around 20,000 horses himself when he worked for one of the biggest horse dealerships in the USA and that is where he developed his ideas, with large doses of input from the former great horsemen.

This approach appeals to me. It is a professional approach. I love my horses dearly. I went through hell for 2 1/2 years trying to get the ownership of Filly, and now nobody can take her from me EVER. But when I am working with her, now James is in horsemans heaven, I feel he is sitting on my shoulder and watching me with a professional eye. I don't want to disappoint. "Soft as possible, firm as necessary" is a good phrase.

Going back to my original paragraph James would always ask new students what "job" they were training their horses and themselves for. It didn't matter what it was. Cow work, dressage, jumping, racing, or just hacking out. The horse needed a purpose and we needed to know what it was. Without that purpose (or multiple ones) how can we possibly "play" with our horses with structure and meaning.

One last though. I watched a Pat P online video yesterday. He said one of the biggest differences people can make to their attitudes is to stop thinking of themselves as riders, and start thinking of themselves as horsemen.
Riders ride and that is their mental emphasis.
Horsemen have a wider view of their relationship with horses and put more emphasis, mentally, into every aspect of horse handling. I aspire to be a horseman. I take pride in the way I put a halter or saddle on, how I lead the horse to and from the field with a forward walk etc.
I like to try and act professional even if I don't make money from horses (rather the opposite ) much as I do around both the B767 I fly as a pilot and the glider I race for my other sport. I keep my part of the barn tidy, halter neatly tied up and hung up, saddles clean. This is important to me to maintain a professional approach to horses and means that all the little things cease to be a chore and become a part of the whole experience of handling and caring for these wonderful creatures.
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Last edited by Pegasus1; 12-18-2012 at 05:27 AM.
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post #13 of 18 Old 12-18-2012, 07:46 AM
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I'd say yes. IMO, people who are more timid do better with guidance and instruction. NH gives them the structure of lessons via the goals of the exercises and helps a person to not feel lost. It can feel overwhelming to have a horse and not know what to do besides ride. Because for the most part the exercises work, he handler see positive results and gains confidence in themselves and their horse.
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post #14 of 18 Old 12-19-2012, 01:22 PM
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Fear was a huge part of my starting at learning NH. I had many accidents and was feeling scared and totally out of control. Though I loved my horses I was feeding them and avoiding doing anything with them, because I had run out of ideas on what to do with them.

I was extremely aggressive with horses, because that is how I was taught. I caused nearly every wreck I was in with a horse. NH is exactly what I needed to tone myself down so horses didn't feel like they needed to kill me in self defense!

Originally Posted by Pegasus1 View Post
Many folks like the fluffy bunny approach to NH, but this is not what it is all about. I think this idea has partially come about as the clinicians, like Pat, are a bit scared of putting the actual methods of NH on DVD for all the negative publicity it produces. One view of a NH being firm with a horse and the antis are shouting "abuse", largely ignoring the dressage horses with blood coming out of their sides in warm up rings all over the country at shows every weekend. I've seen it, but that is just "getting respect".
"No Nonsense Horsemanship"
"Soft as possible, firm as necessary" is a good phrase.
I needed a lot of "fluffy bunny" to become even half way balanced as a horseman.

I agree that ALL "fluffy bunny" is the wrong approach, it can be very dangerous, because too many people are never as "firm as necessary" and therefore tolerate a lot of "nonsense" from their horses.

Aside from trying to be "politically correct"(is that an international term?) many trainers show only softie, nicey, nice, because they are coming from an overly aggressive training back ground themselves. Anyone with any professional training background whether it be taking lessons from a pro trainer, or training competitively. Their approach could probably use some softening to become as "gentle as possible."
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post #15 of 18 Old 12-20-2012, 05:20 PM
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You are probably right about many clinicians coming from a very harsh background. Maybe someone else can fill in the history a bit but I heard even Tom and Bill Dorrance came from this end of the spectrum, got sick of it and searched for the softer, more humane method from the Vaqueros. Is that correct or just rumour ?
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post #16 of 18 Old 12-20-2012, 05:57 PM
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Pegusus, don’t know how true that is, I had the impression those guys learned the vaquero way from childhood, Tom Dorance’s book has a picture of their father on a bridle horse at the age of 90 or so, so it seems their old man was a bit of a horseman too.
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post #17 of 18 Old 12-20-2012, 06:03 PM
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The title of this thread is whether or not NHmanship helps fearful riders. And, that's a resounding yes. I think it helps in showing people that horses , though much bigger than you, can be moved around by using their own instincts against them, so to speak. I mean, their desire to latch on to a leader is used. Their fear of something coming up behind them is used to drive them. their relationship to pressure is used to teach them to move away from pressure and even to follow it (such as a direct pull on the rein).

once a person knows that even wee little them can move a horse around, and that there is SOME predictability to horses, once you learn the 'language', they can feel much less fearful.
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post #18 of 18 Old 12-20-2012, 06:16 PM
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I can say from experience that NH has helped me immensely with my fear of large horses. My QH has some boundary issues, as in he is big, old, lazy and just could care less about little old me. I grew up with "traditional" training and with him it doesn't work because he just doesn't there was this feeling of me being out of control, which in turn made me fearful. NH helped me with finding different ways to communicate things to him. I'm not the best rider still, but I can handle just about anything from the ground, have never had any fear on the ground...just in the saddle. I know "kicking" his butt on the ground has made him more apt to listen to me while under saddle now too...
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